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Taking Care of the Dogs
December 16, 2013 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
IT IS time something is done to quiet the howling emanating from the Belmont County Animal Shelter. Accusations and complaints have been forthcoming for months now in connection with the facility. Mistreatment of dogs, filthy conditions and failure to efficiently secure adoptions have all surfaced. The most chilling is that half of the canines delivered to the animal shelter are put to death. Those complaints fell passionately into the laps of the Belmont County commissioners last week. Commissioners Favede, Coffland and Thomas heard allegations from several individuals seeking to clean up the shelter's issues. The Belmont County Animal Rescue League (BCARL) operates the animal shelter. BCARL has been targeted for alleged inefficiencies. A BCARL official defended the goings-on at the shelter, even welcoming an investigation. Commissioners need to cut to the chase and launch a probe. It needs to happen quickly, fairly and thoroughly. Only then will the truth be known. The key is securing the services of someone capable of conducting such a search, regardless of the costs involved. Even dogs deserve humane treatment. Belmont County officials need to look to Marshall and Jefferson counties on how to properly run an animal shelter. Marshall County has a facility where no animals are put to death. Jefferson County, meanwhile, had issues with its animal facility. However, a citizens group, spearheaded by Martins Ferry Development Director Kathy Gagin, took over the shelter. No complaints have been aired since. I am tired and disturbed by the ongoing horror stories about the Belmont County Animal Shelter. I am certain countless other county residents share the same feelings. I appreciate the tough task BCARL has in running the shelter. Yet, if it is not doing its job in proper fashion, changes must be made. If a proper probe vindicates BCARL, county residents then can rest much easier.
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